Adaptive skills, at first glance, are a defense against sudden change. We are currently in a period of war, enduring a pandemic, and experiencing the Great Resignation. Effective companies must ensure that employees have adaptive skills in the face of such challenges. However, adaptive skills can also be a competitive advantage, and so should be nurtured even when there are no calamities on the horizon.
What Are Adaptive Skills?
Adaptive skills are soft skills that can be classified as either reactive or proactive.
Reactive adaptive skills permit employees to handle unexpected developments. Although such skills are always beneficial, they become critical whenever an organization must adjust hurriedly to new situations. These skills include:
Dealing with unforeseen circumstances is part of every venture. Those who develop problem solving skills will have the tools to readily adapt. One important asset that both individuals and companies can use for problem solving situations is a growth mindset, which teaches people to see problems as learning opportunities. In addition, problem solving can occur both individually and collectively. Individual problem solving skills include creative thinking and analytical ability. Collaborative problem solving skills include brainstorming and teamwork.
This skill is complementary to problem solving. Once the root cause of an issue is identified, the next step is to deal with it, and this is a result of deciding between potential solutions. Some of the skill elements associated with decision making include critical thinking, delegation, and assertiveness.
Once the problem has been identified and a solution outlined, the next phase is to organize and initiate the reaction. Change management is a skill that can manifest on three levels – developmental (new processes and procedures); transitional (moving from one organizational structure to another, such as becoming a corporation); and transformational (a fundamental shift, such as selling an entirely different product). Change management requires a comprehensive set of skills depending on the nature of the change. Perhaps the most important skill element in this case is communication, which is necessary to coordinate change efforts across the organization.
Any unexpected situation induces stress. When serious changes occur, stress can overwhelm leaders and become infectious. Although stress management does not produce anything tangible, as opposed to a strategy resulting from decision making, it is still essential. A proper reaction to stress will maintain productivity when it is most needed. Skill elements connected to stress management include goal setting, emotional intelligence, and resilience.
Proactive adaptive skills help employees in new situations to quickly acclimatize. In addition, for individuals interested in managerial positions, the ability to rapidly adapt is paramount. Proactive adaptive skills include:
For employees working in a hierarchy, initiative allows an individual to use their expertise and personal traits to encourage productivity. Even in a company with a flat organizational structure, initiative can still be exhibited by working independently. Among the skill elements associated with initiative are confidence, the ability to incorporate feedback, mindfulness, and listening.
Understanding best practices and taking the time to get organized is not something everybody does. This is one of the reasons, for instance, that the average employee spends almost forty hours a year trying to find information and various items. Adopting organizational skills is a move that individuals can make to improve their own performance, and is an imperative for leaders. But more importantly, during times of change, creating an organized plan is an important first step for resolving a crisis. Organizational skills include scheduling, time management, and record keeping.
Why Are Adaptive Skills Important?
Changes create threats and opportunities. Businesses that are first to grasp that change is occurring and adapt accordingly will:
- Minimize wasting resources on obsolete operations
- Avoid shocks caused by market shifts
- Develop ‘first in the market’ advantages
- Be a step ahead of competitors and potentially maintain that position
Change is unavoidable. According to this article, the number of skills required for a single position increases by 10% each year, and as a consequence, we are also seeing the rapid obsolescence of various skill groups that were once essential.
The Adaptive Approach of GrowthSpace
Implementing adaptive skill training is important, but so are numerous other tasks that employees perform. It can be a challenge to give workers significant learning opportunities without interfering with their productivity. In a way, L&D departments need to think adaptively if they are to find a solution that makes L&D programs both effective and convenient.
Unless they rely on GrowthSpace. With a technology-based approach to skills training, GrowthSpace’s L&D platform empowers organizations to match acclaimed experts with employees for rapid L&D sprints. In minimum time, employees receive maximum benefits from some of the world’s best trainers, coaches, and mentors for adaptive skills.